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The Exceptional Foundation

President & CEO

  • Location

    Birmingham, AL
  • Posted On

    November 18, 2021
  • Job Type

  • Category

    Nonprofit Administration
  • Experience Level

    Not Specified
  • Education Level

    Bachelor's Degree
  • Salary

    Not Specified

Job Description

About The Exceptional Foundation

The Exceptional Foundation provides adults and children with special developmental needs the social and recreational activities they require to promote healthy living, support social relationships, improve life skills, and foster community involvement. By doing so, the Foundation strives to enrich the well-being of families by offering a healthy, safe, and professional environment where their loved ones may thrive.

Located in Homewood (a suburb of Birmingham), Alabama, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was established in 1993 to serve individuals with special needs in the Greater Birmingham area by targeting social and recreational objectives not met by educational institutions or the community at large. Initially, a small group of individuals with special needs were organized to meet on a daily basis at a Homewood Parks and Recreation facility. A capital campaign in 1999 then allowed The Exceptional Foundation to build its own 12,000 square foot recreational and administrative facility adjacent to their previous location at Homewood Park. An essential second capital campaign was launched in 2006 to fund an addition to the existing facility in order to meet rising program enrollment numbers. In 2014, The Exceptional Foundation launched its third capital campaign to fund its Jay Harbert Youth Center, expanding their building to 32,235 square feet and allowing them to further increase their youth enrollment numbers.   As of this writing, the Foundation owns all their buildings and facilities without debt.

Today, The Exceptional Foundation serves over 700 individuals with special needs. They provide year-round social and recreational services for individuals ranging in age from 5 to 81.   With a staff of 45 people, the organization is on extremely sound financial footing and operates on an annual budget of approximately $2.1 million per year.  Revenue comes from three primarily sources:  contributions and donations (33%), special event fundraising including the very popular annual Chili Cook off (33%), and fees/tuition for individual services (33%).  The Foundation also has a healthy endowment fund.

The organization also serves as the model organization for other Exceptional Foundations throughout the southeast. There are currently Exceptional Foundations located in Atlanta, East Alabama, and the Gulf Coast. These organizations are required to meet Birmingham’s standard operating procedures. Additionally, the Foundation acts as a consultant to other groups across the country.

Tricia Kirk, the Foundation’s long-time President & CEO recently announced her retirement.  A national search will be conducted to find her replacement.

President & CEO Position Scope and Responsibilities

The President & CEO reports to The Exceptional Foundation Board of Directors and has strategic and overall operational responsibility for the Foundation’s financial affairs, staff management, programs, and execution of its mission and business plan. She/he will ensure that the Foundation’s fiscal, operational, marketing and communications, human resources, technology, and program strategies are effectively implemented across all segments of the organization. Specifically:

Strategic & Programmatic Leadership:
·      Ensure that the goal of improving the wellbeing of people with developmental disabilities is at the forefront of every facet of the Foundation’s mission and programming.

·      Provide strategic and operational leadership while working closely with the Board of Directors in governance of the organization and in keeping them well-informed and engaged.

·      Ensure the development, implementation, and execution of a long-range strategic plan that achieves the Foundation’s mission via forward movement with consistent and timely progress.

·       Ensure programmatic impact and sustainability through effective program administration.

·      Maintain effective relationships with a variety of external organizations including, but not limited to, the professional disability field, federal, state, and local governmental agencies, corporations, and other associations and organizations that are aligned with the Foundation’s goals and objectives.

·      Take a leadership role in identifying issues and opportunities for collaboration across the disability field and create forums to address these issues.

·      Serve as the public face of the Exceptional Foundation in the community and across the state with the objective of telling the organization’s story, building brand and adding to its reputation.

Revenue Generation, Fundraising and Management:
·      Provide executive leadership on all revenue generation and resource development programs and activities and provide hands-on support where needed.

·       Ensure the organization’s financial stability and sustainability by maintaining healthy cash flow, successful grant solicitation and optimal performance against the budget.

·       Promote a culture of innovation with appropriate financial risk taking commensurate with the organization’s financial position.

·      With a customer service mentality, develop relationships with consumers to ensure that services offered are commensurate with their individual desires and needs.

·       Play an active role in successfully soliciting funding from federal, state, and local government funders and private funders by building ongoing relationships, crafting the case for financial support, presenting the appeal, and assuring compliance with grant and contract requirements.

·       Identify, cultivate, solicit and steward prospects and donors of the organization.

·       Ensure that all funds are responsibly and prudently allocated to reflect the needs of the organization and support the achievement of the mission.

·       Ensure the maintenance of the agency’s facility and programs with a focus on a safe and pleasing work and recreation environment.

·       Act as a responsible and ethical financial steward of the Foundation’s endowment fund.

Personnel Management:
·      Directly supervise, mentor, recruit, onboard, and build a highly effective team to support and manage daily operations in accordance with the mission, objectives, established procedures and applicable laws and regulations.

·       Cultivate an environment of diversity and inclusion throughout all facets of the Foundation’s community.

·      Ensure department and individual job descriptions are clearly defined and developed, regular performance evaluations are held, and sound human resource practices are always in place.

·       Foster a positive culture that encourages full contribution, engagement, and development of staff.

·       Maintain a climate that attracts, motivates, and retains a diverse staff of top-quality employees.

Board Relations:
·      Develop and maintain positive and effective relations with the Board Chair, and all other members of the Board of Directors.

·      Ensure that the Board of Directors is always kept fully informed of the opportunities, challenges, and operations of the organization.

·       Serve as lead liaison between the Board and the staff.

·       Assist in identifying potential board members and providing those recommendations to the Board for consideration.

Public Relations and Marketing:
·       Provide executive leadership on all public relations messaging and marketing efforts and serve as the public face and spokesperson for the important work of the organization.

·       Lead the Foundation in public, private and governmental relations.

·       Serve as a public “ambassador” for the organization on city, state, and national stages.

·       Collaborate with existing funding partners.

·       Cultivate and establish sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with the Foundation’s wide range of stakeholders and other organizations focused on disability thereby promoting system change and advocacy on issues of importance.

Professional Experience

The successful candidate should ideally possess a majority of the following core qualifications and professional experiences:

Essential qualifications:

* Must have first-hand knowledge of and/or a proven track record working within the disability community.

* Must be able to model and articulate the values and messaging of The Exceptional Foundation.

* Must have demonstrated ability to solicit and raise philanthropic funds.

* Must have strong experience in managing an organization or significant division within an organization in terms of business administration, fiscal management, leadership development, community development, volunteer coordination, human services, or a related field.

* Must have a positive, ethical, and influential reputation within the disability community.

Desired experiences:

·       Experience working with, and supporting, a volunteer Board of Directors while helping them to prioritize objectives in terms of mission attainment and resource allocation.

·       A proven track record in achieving strategic priorities through collaboration both inside and outside of the organization.

·       A proven track record of building, managing, leading, and motivating effective teams with the ability to attract, retain, grow, and inspire an impactful staff of similar size and scope.

·       A proven business acumen as one who recognizes finite financial resources and can prioritize allocation among many worthy programs and organizational efforts via clear operating metrics.

·       Experience in public relations and branding campaigns with a focus on educating the general public on a cause or service.

·       Experience in the intersection between recreational activities and the needs of people with disabilities is a plus.

Personal Attributes

The successful candidate should:

·       Have an understanding and or empathy toward the broad range of disability experiences and be able to articulate the positive benefits of recreation and socialization.

·       Be a visionary with decisive leadership skills while still maintaining an “open door” policy and practicing superb listening skills.

·       Have the ability to effectively engage political leaders on a state and national level.

·       Be an engaging and enthusiastic servant leader with strong interpersonal skills who can inspire and motivate staff to performance excellence and serve as a catalyst for collaborating with community partners.

·       Possess a true commitment to innovation by motivating, encouraging, and supporting staff to continually grow as individuals.

·       Have the entrepreneurial skills to nurture the culture and history of the Foundation while creating an environment that meets the challenges of tomorrow by seeking out new partnerships, industry alliances and funders.

·       Be an effective, passionate, and transparent communicator who can speak both inside and outside the Foundation with a sensitivity to individuals from various cultural and economic backgrounds.

·       Be a consensus builder within a wide spectrum of stakeholders to include the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, funders, legislators, external partners, and the public.

·       Possess the intellect to understand the broad issues regarding ADA laws and regulations and disability rights.

·       Value the contributions of all staff and possess the ability to assemble a cohesive team.

·       Above all, be a passionate believer in the mission and the potential of The Exceptional Foundation and the important benefits of activities, recreation, social interaction, community and family support, and most importantly, the belief of acceptance and embracement of all Americans with disabilities.


·       A bachelor’s degree is required.

·       An advanced degree in a relevant field is preferred.


Full-time residence in the Birmingham area is required.  The success of this position is predicated on the Foundation’s President & CEO being externally facing and embracing a leadership role within the community.

How to Apply

To Apply:

Search conducted by Pangburn International LLC.

Please electronically send a cover letter addressing your specific qualifications with respect to the essential and desired requirements outlined above along with a chronologically organized resume to:

Thank you for your interest in The Exceptional Foundation.

When applying, mention you saw this opening listed on Disability Scoop.